Daniil Medvedev has made it clear that when in type, he can beat anybody on the ATP Tour. However why is the Russian such a tough foe?
The defending Nitto ATP Finals champion doesn’t have a serve like John Isner, a forehand like Rafael Nadal or a backhand like Novak Djokovic. None of his strokes appear to be what you’ll discover in a textbook, both. However based on former World No. 1 Jim Courier, the 6’6” right-hander has a software the American has by no means seen earlier than: his motion.
“By no means seen it. By no means seen anybody that tall have the ability to cowl the court docket that nicely,” Courier stated. “[Alexander] Zverev and I feel Daniil are sort of in that very same class of simply [being] unbelievably lengthy and unbelievably stout defensively.”
That isn’t to say Medvedev camps behind the baseline all match and chases the ball across the court docket. The Russian has a mixture of abilities that flummoxes opponents.
“He’s an fascinating combo as a result of he’s acquired a big serve, among the best first serves within the sport, and he can even crank his second serve. However then when you get in a rally with him, his defence is wonderful,” Courier stated. “He covers the court docket so nicely from the again of the court docket. He can play offence, however his defence for me is absolutely what separates him, his capacity to make the court docket really feel actually small for his opponents.”
Medvedev stays again when mandatory and shrinks the court docket. Nonetheless, don’t be stunned when he takes benefit of brief balls and performs aggressively himself to make gamers uncomfortable.
“He’s nonetheless one of many uncommon guys the place in case you give him a brief ball, he would possibly again up as a substitute of come to the online,” Courier stated. “However he doesn’t hit from 25 ft behind the baseline on the return of serve after which keep again there on a regular basis. He’ll come again as much as the baseline and take time away from his opponents.”
Photograph Credit score: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
For all of these causes and extra, beating the World No. 2 is a frightening problem. However he was not essentially pegged to be on this place a couple of years in the past.. As not too long ago as August 2018, he was outdoors the High 50 of the FedEx ATP Rankings.
“[Daniil] and [coach] Gilles Cervara have finished a terrific job at rounding out his sport. His volleys have improved. They’re nonetheless not nice, however they’re a lot better,” Courier stated. “He has discovered the place to face on the court docket, in order that’s modified over time, the place he defends from and the way he will get again on high of the baseline.
“There has simply been fixed improvement with them after which the boldness from profitable all of the matches is translated to increasingly more wins.”
What makes Medvedev much more harmful is that his confidence is hovering. On the US Open, he lifted his first main trophy with a surprising straight-sets victory towards Djokovic within the last, ending the Serbian’s Grand Slam goals. The 25-year-old additionally made the Australian Open last this yr and claimed an ATP Masters 1000 title in Toronto.
“It’s large. What a gamechanger for him to know that he can win a match like that [at the US Open], particularly given what was on the road for Novak. To have the ability to play that stage of tennis in that second, too [was impressive],” Courier stated. “In Australia, he appeared like he was primed to do one thing fairly good, however he performed a fairly poor match in that one. That’s acquired to really feel particularly candy, to come back good in that one [in New York].”
Medvedev has so many instruments to win with, that an off day in some areas doesn’t essentially make for a catastrophe. So what does Courier imagine should be finished to defeat him?
“I feel you’ve acquired to be affected person. That’s the factor that it’s a must to be with him,” Courier stated. “You’ve acquired to bide your time as a result of what would possibly appear to be a gap isn’t essentially one, as a result of he’s capable of shut the hole so shortly after which play nice pictures in robust positions.”
The defending Nitto ATP Finals champion leads the Purple Group this week with 2018 winner Alexander Zverev, residence favorite Matteo Berrettini and match debutant Hubert Hurkacz.